VALDOSTA -- Despite a public campaign to drum up support and a last-minute push from naysayers, Lowndes County elections officials do not expect a flood of voters for today's education SPLOST referendum.
Deb Cox, Lowndes County's elections superintendent, said she expected voter turnout to fall well short of the 14 percent who voted in the last education SPLOST referendum.
"Dismal at best," she said, estimating turnout could range anywhere from 3 to 7 percent. "There's been little or no interest (via inquiries) at our office, and the overwhelming majority of absentee voters have been poll workers. Of course, we hope everyone turns out."
Cox said absentee ballot requests -- generally a good indicator of voter turnout -- have been low for the special election.
At issue is a referendum for a 1-cent sales tax that would go toward capital construction projects for the city and county school systems. The measure seeks to raise $112,076,119, $63,435,083 for the Lowndes County School System and $48,641,036 for the Valdosta City School System.
Polls will be open from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. at the county's 32 voting precincts. Cox said there were two polling place changes for the election. Voting precinct 10 has moved from the old Dasher City Hall to the new Dasher City Hall, while voting precinct 22 has shifted to the new Morningside Baptist Church youth center from the old facility.
The last SPLOST election was held in 1997 and was expected to raise $89 million. Valdosta schools used the money for classroom additions at West Gordon and Southeast elementary schools as well as for the new Valdosta Middle School. Lowndes schools listed the new Dewar Elementary School and renovations to Pine Grove and Westside schools as SPLOST I accomplishments.
To contact reporter Bill Roberts, please call 244-3400, ext. 245.
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